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Sri Lankan man accused of killing wife in Canada gets his trial dismissed due to court delays

“HAPPY TO BE DEPORTED” – Montreal police photo of Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham

ECONOMYNEXT – A Sri Lankan man accused of murdering his 21-year-old wife in 2012 in Montreal, Canada, has had his murder trial dismissed because of the inordinate delays his case has taken.

Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham was charged with killing his young wife, Anuja Baskaran, in 2012. The Crown filed a case of First Degree murder because he had a previous charge of assaulting the woman.

But delays, complicated by a revision of the charges to Second Degree murder and the need to translate the documents into English, Tamil and French led to the courts dismissing the case in 2017.

At that time when Thanabalasingham was released, Border Police arrested and deported him as he had been convicted of assaulting Baskaran.

Thanabalasingham, who had obtained refugee status in Canada and later became a Permanent Resident, told the authorities that he was happy to return to Sri Lanka “as soon as possible.”

Even with the accused not in the country, the Crown appealed to the Supreme Court against what in Canadian courts is called the “Jordan Standard” where if the trial takes more than 30 months in Superior Courts it is dismissed.

CBC.ca reported that the Jordan Standard sets “a hard limit on the amount of time that can pass between the laying of charges and the anticipated end of a trial. The Jordan limits are 30 months for superior court cases and 18 months for provincial court cases.”

On July 13, the high court agreed the delay breached Thanabalasingham’s rights.

“The clear and distinct message in Jordan was that all participants in the system are to take proactive measures at all stages of the trial process to move cases forward and bring accused persons to trial in a timely fashion,” the decision said according to the CBC.

Thanabalasingham had been charged with assaulting Baskaran three times in 2011 and 2012. He was convicted on one of the charges and was ordered to serve four months in jail. (Colombo, July 18, 2020-sb)

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Reported by Arjuna Ranawana